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Caption:Sangita, 32, sewing the sanitary pad. 'Ready made pads are costly and if you do not dispose of them properly it will pollute the environment.' Banepa Municipality, Kavre District, Nepal, August 2018.
Credit:WaterAid/ Mani Karmacharya
Usage Rights:(1) Images may be used for all purposes, globally, in perpetuity. Images may be used by third parties.
Size:15.95MB
5760 x 3840px
Key Information:Project: Long term Recovery Plan for WASH in Nala
Location: Nala, Banepa Municipality-4, Kavre, Nepal
Local partner: Centre for Integrated Urban Development (CIUD)
Project Status: Completed
Project Number: 6UHE1
Donor: HSBC | Ravi
Interview: Pull out quote:

“Ready made pads are costly and if you do not dispose of them properly it will pollute the environment. In a municipality like ours, where there is no plan for managing solid waste, pads can contaminate our water source if they are not disposed of properly. So looking at the wider impact, homemade pads are safer.”

Interview:

"I received menstrual pad making training around 3 years ago. I don’t exactly remember the date but it was after the earthquake so definitely in 2015. Before the training I used a piece of cotton cloth as a menstrual pad. The cotton cloths are mainly of the old cotton saree we wear. I made pieces of those old sarees into a pad. Other people used bed sheets and blanket covers as a pad but I never did. I always used cotton sarees because I felt comfortable. Initially I was not very aware of the hygiene. In a way I was a bit careless. I mean, I washed the cotton piece of cloth in a very casual way, sometimes without soap, after using it as a pad. I never cared to dry them in the sun. After washing those cotton pads, I used to dry them anywhere I liked. Sometimes just in a corner of the room and if it was outdoors, I would hide them under some other clothes. Though I was not very aware of potential problems, I didn’t get any health issues for which I find myself lucky. Then, everybody used cotton cloths as a pad. Ready made pads were available but they were not very common. I still use cotton cloth as a menstrual pad.

When I got to know about the menstrual pad making training, I was curious. I never knew that there are ways to make homemade cotton pads in a well-managed way. The training was two days. The first day was mainly theory where we were told about menstrual hygiene management behaviour, measurement for the pad making, preparing paper cutting drafts. The next day was the practical where I made two cotton pads. Besides pad making, the training was useful because I gained knowledge on menstrual hygiene management. Before this training, I used to be very shy while talking about menstruation. But now I am not shy anymore because menstruation is a natural process. I remember one thing that the trainer mentioned in the training which touched me. He said, “If my mother didn’t menstruate I would not be in this world.” This is very true. This is one of the best things I recall from that training. And also the way I am talking with you about the topic without any hesitation is the outcome of the training. These days I don’t feel any oddness to talk on these issues.

After the training, I became more aware about sanitation and hygiene. I wash cotton pads well with soap and dry them properly in the sun without any fear. The training brought about positive change within me. I take care of personal hygiene well. I take a bath every day during menstruation.

The training gave me an extra skill. The skill of making homemade pads. After the training I have started making pads for myself. Nobody in my locality knew about it. I was making them for myself. But after three months, there was another training about making menstrual pads. So I demonstrated my skills and shared them with the new group. After this training people started taking notice of me. I also got an order for 100 pieces of cotton pads. It was from one of the organisations. The organisation provided all the materials and I made them.

The homemade pads are cost-effective. Initially it seems to be a bit expensive because the cost of the homemade cotton pads are more or less similar to ready-made pads available in the market but in the long run, it is very cost-effective. Since it can be reused, it saves you money. We can use clean cotton cloth available at home. The only thing we have to be careful of is that the cotton cloth which is used should be washed properly with soap and dried in direct sun-light so that it is germ free. Ready made pads are costly and if you do not dispose of them properly it will pollute the environment. In a municipality like ours, where there is no plan for managing solid waste, pads can contaminate our water source if they are not disposed of properly. So looking at the wider impact, homemade pads are safer.

I am actually not producing the homemade pads commercially but if someone needs it or if I get an order I am ready to make it. I got good feedback from those who have used my product. I am also asked to make the different sizes. At the moment I am making only one size. Maybe in future when my younger son is around six years-old and starts going school I will start making homemade cotton pads. This can be my part-time job as well.

Finally, I would say those who are economically and environmentally conscious and using cotton cloth as a sanitary pad before are more interested in it but those who are very busy and can afford it, will probably not like it. But still I would say it has got many benefits."

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